Orb Weaver

from by Continuum Kingdom

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The prince followed the girl down several long dark corridors until finally all the questions he had piling up in his head could no longer remain unanswered. At a frenzied pace the prince lobbed a series of pertinent inquiries like:

Where are we?
Who are you?
How can you pass through solid matter?
What was that huge floating prism thing you just pulled me out of?
Why did you save me?
And lastly ( and possibly most importantly ), what is our current plan?

It was hard to tell through the mask, but the girl looked annoyed. She craned her head to her left, then up, sighed, paused for a moment, then finally looked back at the prince & briskly responded:

This place is called the Dark Palace, it sounds regal, but in actuality its just a very elaborate prison. Im an outlaw, more specifically a thief, mostly because I was born with the ability to phase & the people who run this place hate that. I was here to retrieve a captured friend, but I got distracted when I found you. Our escape plan was the gravity orb that was stashed in that sack back there. So now we need to acquire another one to breakout.

The prince raised his hand & opened his mouth to begin asking another question, but the thief abruptly put her hand over his mouth & simply said:

No more questions right now.

The tingle he felt before dispersed through his face & then they were on their way again. Out of all the answers the thief had provided, all the prince could think of was who is this friend she mentioned? Was it a girl friend or a boy friend? Why was she risking her life to save them? & how important could they be ( or he be ) if she abandoned her rescue efforts for him…

The sound of a flurry of footsteps down the hall slammed his attention back to the task at hand as the thief threw open a door & tossed him into a dark room.

They stood in the blackness behind the door for a moment, waiting to hear the footsteps that had alerted them a moment ago to pass. Just as they thought they were safe the rooms lights shot on. The prince whirled around to see a small mustachioed man in the corner sitting up in bed. The man had turned on a bedside lamp that illuminated the entirety of the space, which itself was quite paradoxical, it was tiny, cramped & completely besieged with unfamiliar bric-a-brac, but simultaneously felt vast & limitless.

The thief standing beside him let out an audible sigh of relief & then proceeded to help the man get out of bed. As the thief guided the man over to a peculiar circular work table with a concentric hole in the middle the two softly spoke in a language the prince had never heard before. The thief had finally removed the mask that covered the lower half of her face. Surprisingly her visage was a little bit plainer than her impenetrable eyes would lead someone to believe & her teeth came to slight points. She reminded the prince a little of a vampire character that frequented an animated program he had caught a couple times on his wave-projector. The petite man she was helping about the room was the real person of note though. He was abnormally short, almost blind & absurdly rotund ( his torso appeared to be a perfect sphere ), despite all this, his most striking feature was his freakish spindly arms, they were reminiscent of the limbs of an arachnid.

The man shuffled over to a large cabinet & pulled out a hefty carafe of a thick mercurial substance. He brought it over to the work table & began pouring it into a basin in the center. The liquid poured like paint & the prince could see a rainbow gradient of tertiary colors hidden in the stream, it was then that he realized it was the first example of color he had seen since he first awoke in this dark dimension.

After the spindly armed man finished pouring, he dipped both hands into the liquid, then pulled them out, clasped them together & then began weaving the mercurial substance in an orbicular fashion. It was slow & calm at first, but his movements swiftly intensified until his limbs were moving so fast they appeared only as a motion blur. As soon as the two limbs that were currently enacted reached maximum velocity a 2nd set of arms sprung out above the two originals & also began weaving. The black liquid was slowly rising up from the basin & forming into the shape that the weaver was frantically gesticulating to create. When the liquid was about halfway up the orb, the man sprouted a 3rd set of arms that picked up two hammers & proceeded to pound out all the imperfections & bulges poking out of the forming sphere. Each time the mustachioed man struck the slick surface of the orb a deafening CLANG rang out like someone ripping metal.

It was then that the group heard a rap at door. The prince couldnt make out exactly what they were saying, but the guards were back & it seemed that the noise of the tools had alerted the authorities to their presence. The weaver quickly shored up the orb, placed all 6 of his hands on the sphere ( equally dispersed over the surface area ) & began squeezing the ( now ) rather large orb to a pocket size. The thief aptly pocketed it. She then grabbed the prince by the hand & the pair phased out the other side of the room.

They emerged in another dark corridor. The thief was visibly distraught. She confessed that she was worried about what would happen to the old weaver. The prince reassured her that he seemed like a clever fellow & that he seemed like he could handle himself ( even though the prince didnt really have any real facts to back it up ( he did have a good feeling about it though ) ). In an attempt to quickly change the subject the prince inquired:

what now?

& the thief simply responded:

were leaving.

As soon as the thief let go of his hand the prince wished she was still holding it. The pair carefully crept down another elaborate series of dank hallways that the prince would never be able to remember the order of. There was a look in the thiefs eye of pure determination. Combing the annals of his mind the prince struggled to see if he had a memory of anyone having that much visible commitment on their face ( he could not recall any). The notion calmed him. She seemed to be in control & he was going to let her guide him for now.

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from Dark Palace, released January 20, 2017

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